Posture and Habits

In continuation of topics on better posture, today I’d like to talk about habits. In essence, I believe that any change that you make in your life be it exercising, eating differently, or sitting straight requires forming new habits. And certainly changing one’s posture falls into this category.

Decide Who You Want To Be

Where does one start forming a new habit? I would suggest to start with your own identity. It seems that the way we see ourselves has a far stronger influence on our behavior than our performance and the way other people see us. For example, saying “I’m a person who sits straight” is quite different from saying “I’m going to be sitting straight every day” or even other people telling us that “you seem to be sitting straight”. The way you see yourself has a direct correlation with how you are going to act. If you decide that you’re just going to be sitting straight, you’re relaying on your willpower to form a new habit. However, willpower can easily be depleted causing you to fall back into your old habit. Even more, if you do that but in your self talk you keep saying that “I’m slouching all the time”, you create a conflict between the way you see yourself and the way you act. Eventually that is going to lead to failure. Instead, start seeing yourself in the way of a new habit – you do it because that’s who you are. Decide what time of person you want to be and prove it to yourself with small wins.

Start Small
Once you’ve decided that you’re a person who acts in a certain way (be it a person who sits straight or exercises 3 times a week), it’s time to start practicing. The goal here is to start small. If you try to go with a new habit all the way, completely changing the way you’ve acted before, you are going to be relying on will power. Instead, take small daily steps and then add to your habit as you get used to it. In the better posture example, you could start by sitting straight for 10 minutes a day for the first week, 15 minutes for the seconds week, 20 for third, etc. The goal is to start small, do it daily, and build up as you start developing the habit.

Change Your Environment
Be aware of the environment you are in. Does it encourage you to develop your new habit or does it serve as an obstacle? For example, is your monitor set up improperly, may be too far so that you have to squint and lean forward to be able to read the text? Is your chair uncomfortable so that you have to slouch to make your back feel better when sitting? If you find something in your environment provokes your bad habit, change it. You could adjust your monitor or get yourself an exercise ball chair without back support.

Have a reminder
In the midst of a work full day, it’s easy to forget to do your new daily habit. Don’t just rely on your memory, get technology to help you. You could set up a reminder on your phone to go off every hour or so to remind you to sit straight.

Last but not least, enjoy how your new habit makes your life better. Think of the benefits your new habit is going to bring you by overwriting the old one. Reap the great results. By sitting straight not only you will develop a better confidence, it will help you lessen or even avoid pains and aches in your back.